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Phosphorus is a nutrient that is vital for all life on Earth. Over the years, it has become more and more difficult to get hold of the supplies needed by the agricultural and industrial sectors – especially as Europe has to import practically all of its requirements. Both the limited availability and the poor quality of the virgin raw material are forcing us to find ways to recover phosphorus so that it can be reused.
It has been a long while since sewage treatment plants were considered to be simply a waste disposal facility. For many years now, they have been operating as innovative recycling plants – recovering water, energy and minerals. Thanks to a process developed by REMONDIS itself, the company is now able to recover many different types of marketable recycled raw materials and energy from sewage sludge. The first stage of REMONDIS’ TetraPhos® process involves the sewage sludge being thermally treated in a sewage sludge mono-incineration plant.
Phosphorus is a finite raw material – many countries are dependent on imports, including the whole of Europe.
The ash is then dissolved in phosphoric acid. The phosphoric acid is enriched with the phosphorus contained in the ash and then processed in a number of different stages. A variety of valuable substances are recovered during the process including the enriched acid and gypsum which is used by the building supplies trade.